Maintenance Fees [Patent] Law and Legal Definition
In the context of patents, ‘maintenance fee’ is a fee that is paid to maintain a granted patent in force. All patent laws do not require the payment of maintenance fees. However, some patent laws mandate maintenance fees even in the case of pending applications. Maintenance fee is also known as renewal fee or annuity fee. In some countries, the fee payment is to be made annually, and in such cases it is called patent annuities.
In the U.S., all utility patents which issue from applications filed on or after December 12, 1980 are subject to maintenance fees. The due date for the maintenance fees are 3 1/2, 7 1/2 and 11 1/2 years from the date of the original patent grant. Fee payments must include both patent and application numbers. Information relating to the current fees and costs associated with one’s patent can be known using the USPTO’s fee schedule.
Patent maintenance fees can be paid:
1. Online using a credit card, deposit account, or EFT account.
2. By fax using a credit card or deposit account.
3. By mail using a check or money order, credit card, or deposit account.
A maintenance fee can be timely paid using the certificate of mailing or transmission procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.8, or the USPS Express Mail procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.10.